An Illinois bank will create a $1 million loan program in order to settle HUD allegations that it discriminated against African American and Hispanic mortgage applicants.
HOPE Fair Housing Center of Wheaton, Ill. filed the complaint against Alpine Bank, alleging that the bank’s lack of presence in the Rockford, Ill., area made it difficult for African American and Hispanic lenders to access its financial products. The complaint also said that only one out of the bank’s 14 branches was located in an area that is more than 10% African American.
In order to settle the allegations, Alpine Bank agreed to pay HOPE $75,000. The bank will also set up a loan program of $1 million to help leverage mortgage lending to African American and Hispanic borrowers in the Rockford area; conduct outreach programs with seminars on financial literacy, homeownerhsip and credit counseling to minority areas; administer fair-lending training to its staff; and research the possibility of opening a branch in the Rockford area.
Under the Fair Housing Act, discrimination in real-estate transactions based on race and national origin is illegal.